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Model Railroading > Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?


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Date: 03/23/23 15:22
Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: wabash2800

When some of these books go out of print and they retail for over $100 each on the "back market", doesn't that ring a bell at Kalmbach that it might be a good idea to do some reprints. Some of these books are not out of date. For example, Jeff Wilson's book on 1940s and 1950s freight cars is retailing on the used market at about $130 each!  Hello, Kalmbach Marketing!

Granted, many modelers won't pay that price, but it does show there is a demand there.

Victor Baird



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/23 15:24 by wabash2800.



Date: 03/23/23 16:20
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: WM1977

Same for the original model railroad layout videos produced on VHS tapes. Considering they did the recent V&O book maybe people would like to see the video of the V&O.
cr

Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/23/23 16:59
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: CO1309

They are incapable of making profitable decisions anymore.  We're not talking about our beloved magazine company of the forgone years.  The staff, company and customer is much different. The customer as it stands now for print media is the crowd in their late 60's to 80s or even 90's.  They are losing their customer base at the rate of thousands per year.  They have tried online but after a short attempt there I did not like the value for what I was paying.  The talent is not great and they seem more concerned with being catchy than having any substance.  They have a long way to go to fix everything.  Part of me is rooting for them but they need a complete change.  Just the stories I have heard about them shooting themselves in the foot over the years with the many opportunities to enable positive change make me cringe.  
 



Date: 03/23/23 18:15
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: RuleG

Interesting question.

I have a slightly different beef with Kalmbach's railroad books.

When I first got into the hobby, Kalmbach was one of the hobby's leaders in railroad books which included great books such as

Locomotive Cyclopedia: Volume 1 Steam Locomotives
The Hiawatha Story (currently being published by the University of Minnesota Press)
Apex of the Atlantics
Nickel Plate Story
When the Steam Railroads Electrified
Journey to Amtrak


Now Kalmbach seems to be focused entirely on reprinting material which has been previously published in its magazines.  For example, Kalmbach will be soon coming out with a book on the Union Pacific.  Based on the promotions I've read to date, it does not seem like this book will provide any new and different information about the Union Pacific (if anyone knows otherwise, feel free to correct me). 





 



Date: 03/23/23 18:20
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: wabash2800

It would seem it wouldn't be that big a deal to offer that as a DVD.

Victor Baird

WM1977 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Same for the original model railroad layout videos
> produced on VHS tapes. Considering they did the
> recent V&O book maybe people would like to see the
> video of the V&O.
> cr
>
> Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/23/23 18:24
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: TomG

Ya I'd like to have it on dvd also. For anyone who has Tony Koesters book, is it pretty much the same as the Carstens Book or different enough to pick it up?



Date: 03/23/23 18:37
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: alongthejointline

>  > Locomotive Cyclopedia: Volume 1 Steam Locomotives

Wow, I'd forgotten that one. I saved my allowance for weeks to buy one of those very early in 1960's. First edition, hardback, first printing. Wish I still had it.



Date: 03/23/23 18:45
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: wabash2800

For some reason those books (softcover) are going for less than $30.00 but the 1941 one for more than $100 (hardcover?).  Perhaps there aren't enough modelers interesting in steam loco drawings?

Victor Baird

alongthejointline Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> >  > Locomotive Cyclopedia: Volume 1 Steam
> Locomotives
>
> Wow, I'd forgotten that one. I saved my allowance
> for weeks to buy one of those very early in
> 1960's. First edition, hardback, first printing.
> Wish I still had it.



Date: 03/23/23 19:02
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: gandydancer4

Maybe WRP needs to them over as well. Railroad Model Craftman has been resurrected and has 50% more QUALITY pages the MR does. I still like the Kalmbach books even if they do some reprinted material just because the material is all in one place except having to leaf through all the back issues. Some of the video is good but I would agree with most of the opionions expressed here; they really do need a "shot in the arm."



Date: 03/23/23 19:47
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: kilroydiver

It is simply a comparison of how many books do they think they will sell versus the cost of having them re-printed. Sometimes the reprint costs far exceed what they would make back in revenue, so books can't get reprinted. We have to do the same cost comparison with new books and reprints for the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society. A hard reality that we must face is there is a declining market as the railfan community ages out. We sadly lose railfans each year, and that takes away from sales of items like books, models, etc... Dave



Date: 03/23/23 19:57
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: wabash2800

Not to mention the cost increase of quality coated paper for photos in the books. Some preliminary quotes I've got and info from a fellow publisher is that cost of the coated paper is up 150% from my last publication. But when I see demand going through the roof with the market price on a used soft cover Kalmbach books, I still think that Kalmbach can do and sell them, even if they have to charge more.

Look at Jeff's book on trainsition era freigtht cars. While it's true it's mostly older guys, the money is there. If you want a painted and built resin, transition frieght car on eBay, prepare to pay a hundred to two hundred dollars. Out of production resin kits are selling for an average of $100 each.  So, it depends on which book, but if you see signs of demand, go for it.

Victor Baird

kilroydiver Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It is simply a comparison of how many books do
> they think they will sell versus the cost of
> having them re-printed. Sometimes the reprint
> costs far exceed what they would make back in
> revenue, so books can't get reprinted. We have to
> do the same cost comparison with new books and
> reprints for the Southern Pacific Historical &
> Technical Society. A hard reality that we must
> face is there is a declining market as the railfan
> community ages out. We sadly lose railfans each
> year, and that takes away from sales of items like
> books, models, etc... Dave



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/23 20:06 by wabash2800.



Date: 03/24/23 08:35
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: aehouse

In email exchanges I had last year with a (prominent) Kalmbach staffer, the corporate design is to move as much as possible from hardcopy publishing into digital content. The shrinkage of the size of Model Railroader, and the constant repackaging of already published material, are two cases in point. 

You'll note that the name of the firm is no longer Kalmbach Publishing: it's Kalmbach Media. 

Something must be paying the bills, because they have a huge number of full-time employees, and offer many non-railroad hobby publications and digital platforms.

Art House



Date: 03/24/23 10:35
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: wabash2800

Art, I don't know about Kalmbach Media, but they seem to have less employees at Model Railroader. So many left over the years.

Victor Baird



Date: 03/24/23 10:36
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: jgilmore

I stated this in another thread a couple of weeks ago, but I'll say it again. Kalmbach doesn't want to be in the physical magazine business anymore, too expensive to support their bloated mastheads and corporate structure. Easiest thing to do is cut pages, use cheaper paper, etc., until the hard copies finally go away and they can be the fully digital publisher they long to be. Mark my words, it'll happen someday soon. I wonder if the customers will be onboard. They're trying to wait out the death of all the older folks who still demand print copies and serve the younger digital generation. Nowadays, everybody thinks they're a technology company first that happens to do this or that, just like the railroads are trying to be...

JG




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/24/23 10:37 by jgilmore.



Date: 03/24/23 10:48
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: CO1309

I am part of a large club with many in the younger generation and most don't know what Trains.com, Kalmbach or Model Railroader magazine is.  I don't know how they're making any profit at all online as it is.  If I were to guess I'd say the other magazines under Kalmbach's umbrella such as Astronomy magazines, other magazines and their associated websites are keeping it afloat.  But Model Railroader and anything modeling is becoming or already is not profitable and a division of Kalmbach that will have to get it together or be turned off.  

jgilmore Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I stated this in another thread a couple of weeks
> ago, but I'll say it again. Kalmbach doesn't want
> to be in the physical magazine business anymore,
> too expensive to support their bloated mastheads
> and corporate structure. Easiest thing to do is
> cut pages, use cheaper paper, etc., until the hard
> copies finally go away and they can be the fully
> digital publisher they long to be. Mark my words,
> it'll happen someday soon. I wonder if the
> customers will be onboard. They're trying to wait
> out the death of all the older folks who still
> demand print copies and serve the younger digital
> generation. Nowadays, everybody thinks they're a
> technology company first that happens to do this
> or that, just like the railroads are trying to
> be...
>
> JG



Date: 03/24/23 12:40
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: wabash2800

As I said before, I subscribe the digital version of MR, Trains, and Classic Trains and like it, plus save money. But I am not interested in a digital book. I spend too much time at a computer for work and leisure to do that.
Victor Baird

jgilmore Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I stated this in another thread a couple of weeks
> ago, but I'll say it again. Kalmbach doesn't want
> to be in the physical magazine business anymore,
> too expensive to support their bloated mastheads
> and corporate structure. Easiest thing to do is
> cut pages, use cheaper paper, etc., until the hard
> copies finally go away and they can be the fully
> digital publisher they long to be. Mark my words,
> it'll happen someday soon. I wonder if the
> customers will be onboard. They're trying to wait
> out the death of all the older folks who still
> demand print copies and serve the younger digital
> generation. Nowadays, everybody thinks they're a
> technology company first that happens to do this
> or that, just like the railroads are trying to
> be...
>
> JG



Date: 03/24/23 17:30
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: NiagaraMike

Kalmback's problems can be summed up in two words " White River"
WR just presents a better product!



Date: 03/24/23 19:25
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: UP951West

If it is a RR book , I want a real physical book that can hold in my hands and read under lighting that is kinder to my old eyes . Screen time on  PC is hard on my eyes. There is a SP book just released that I had intended to buy, but instead of a real book you can hold in your hands , it's come out as a digital book and the cost is $ 60 . No thank you . Should the author come out with  a real book that is easier on my eyes, then I'll buy it . 



Date: 03/25/23 00:19
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: Fizzboy7

As a retailer, I can say magazine sales are totally flat.   Maybe sell one R/R mag a month now (Used to be one a day years ago).   Just not worth it.
If this is any indication and relation to books, I can see where Kalmbach may be going.

Jason Eminian
Smith Brothers Hobby Center
Northridge, CA.



Date: 03/25/23 05:54
Re: Why Doesn't Kalmbach Reprint some of its Soft Cover Books?
Author: CPR_4000

The K should consider offering "reprints" as pdf's, like Morning Sun does. Either read it on your computer or take the file to Staples and have them print and bind it. Or just print relevant pages yourself at home.



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